The Civil War Never Ended: The Racist Deep Culture of Trumpism (part 1)

Wednesday 6 January will forever be remembered as Trump’s Insurrection Riot Day. It is the day that he wound MAGA Nation up, pointed them at Congress, and let them go to wreck mischief and mayhem. What he didn’t know — I’m convinced of it — was that various militia, Boogaloo Bois, and Proud Boys groups had made plans to use the mob as cover to advance their own nefarious operations namely accelerating the beginning of the race war, and overthrowing the national government.

There is solid evidence that they were planning on detaining Congress people and assassinating them. Namely, they were chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” had erected a gallows outside and had hung a noose from a tree. Then, there were the pictures of the young men running around with zip-tie flexicuffs. Most of the boys with the cuffs concealed their identities with hats and masks. Most of them. Others were too stupid or over confident to.

Share your thoughts on Trump’s Insurrection Riot in the comments!

This is the introductory post of a three part series explaining the deep culture of our racist culture here in America and how the struggle to keep Trump in office is just the latest chapter in the damage that white supremacy has done to our country. In this post, we’ll cover some background information defining deep culture and the relationship between racism and Trump’s Big Lie that the election was stolen from him. Part 2 will examine the deep roots that racism has in our deep culture because of Puritanism and Calvinism. And part 3 will demonstrate how the failures of Reconstruction led us to Trump’s Insurrection Riot. Sounds like fun, right?

The Long History of Racism and White Supremacy in the US

The insurrection is the latest chapter in the one constant in the history of the United States is the fight over how white people should treat black people. Our choices seem to be (a) slavery, (b) abject poverty, (c) exclusion from the body politic, or (d) all of the above. The discrimination against and racism towards black people is so significant that it has become part of the deep culture of America, especially white America.

White supremacy is so entrenched in America’s deep culture that we fought a Civil War over it. You might think that woulda settled it, but it didn’t. While it did eliminate slavery, the struggle over the oppression of Black people never ended. The struggle over the very humanity of Blacks continues to this day because white supremacy is deeply embedded in the psyche of white America. Like a bad C and W song, we just can’t seem to quit racism.

A Deep Culture of Racism and White Supremacy

Deep culture is “the unconscious frameworks of meaning, values, norms and hidden assumptions that we use to interpret our experience.” Because these values, norms, and assumptions are hidden from our conscious awareness, we do not know when they exert themselves. It is that feeling you get when you are with someone from another culture and they do something that is so utterly preposterous that you cannot believe they’ve done it. For example, when I was teaching in China, one day I remarked to my class that the sheer number of government run CCTV cameras made me nervous and uncomfortable — they can find anyone in a country of 1.4 billion in eight minutes using facial recognition software. One of my Chinese students couldn’t understand why since the cameras were helpful, after all. That is a difference in deep cultural: I could not understand her, and she could not understand me.

Culture is passed from one generation to the next taught by parents to their children and absorbed from mass media and classrooms and peers. It changes slowly because of this. We’ve had 243 years to weed it out, and haven’t done it yet. Let’s hope it won’t take another 243 to be completely rid of it.

How ’bout giving us a LIKE?

Racist White culture has warped every aspect of our lives to justify our shift from overt state-supported and mandated racism before the Civil Rights Act of 1965 to systemic racism after it. We’ve seen it warp everything from states’ rights to religion, from assumptions about athletics and music (Black people are naturals, don’cha know) to policing practice (Blacks are inherently threatening so can be shot on sight), and from family structure (Black men abandon their families) to proper gainful employment and education (Black people should have subsistence jobs and minimal education). In all aspects of our lives, Black Americans are hampered because of the color of their skin and the white attitudes towards them, and white people find many inventive ways to warp their thinking not only to justify it but to ignore its existence. That’s the power of deep culture. You don’t even know its there.

Trump’s Big Lie about the Election and White Supremacy

Smarter people than me have pointed out pointed out that Black Americans delivered the Senate and Presidency to Democrats and essentially saved democracy from the party supporting single-party pseudo-democratic minority rule and white supremacists tried to destroy our democracy.

Trump’s extended assault on the election is an expression of his personal racism and it feeds the racism of MAGA Nation. Losing was a narcissistic wound for Trump, but losing because of the Black vote made the wound deeper, more painful, and much more difficult to heal. To overturn the election, he has attempted to disenfranchise the Black vote in the swing states through the courts and through the actions of state election officials. They have been very explicit about which counties they want to disenfranchise.

The failure to disenfranchise the Black vote so enraged Trump and MAGA Nation, that they’d rather have authoritarian rule than allow Black people to decide the outcome of an election, so they attacked Congress seeking to hang VP Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and likely shoot every Democrat. That sounds like a group that we should seek national unity with and healing.

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Image Attribution

“We need to taco-bout Trumpism” by m.gifford is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

13 replies »

  1. Dear Calico Jack,

    Thank you for sharing that with me. I’m so glad you used your clout at work (not to mention your clout as a white guy) to call out someone’s ignorance. I wish more white people used their white privilege to do that. If someone’s otherness is too visible and upsets the majority’s norm (usually a white straight majority) enough for them to make a divisive nasty comment to affirm some imagined superior status on their part it should absolutely be met with opposition and distaste. This person obviously thought you’d agree with them to feel so comfortable making that comment (perhaps as one white guy to another) so I bet they thought twice about it next time.

    Robin Diangelo talks about this so succinctly in her book White Fragility about the opposition the white person gets who challenges discrimination thereby breaking white solidarity with their peers by empathising with the person of colour (in your case a different – ism) but the result is the same (peers turning against you).

    And believe me, although some of my dear friends are white, there’s no end to the slights I’ve had to endure simply trying to navigate my way in trying to achieve success at work so often being the only or one of the few brown people in the room. Most racism and discrimination is undetectable so you simply can’t call it out. Or it’s just not worth it as you then end up having to have an uncomfortable conversation as to why that person has offended you which inevitably ends up with them becoming more offended by what you’ve perceived of them which makes you look like the bad guy. It’s a drag.

    As well as outright racism which of course every POC suffers throughout their lives, I’ve had well-meaning but still offensive comments like “Your English is amazing!” to the less obvious having your work nitpicked for flaws while your white colleagues make errors that are quickly shrugged off or overlooked. Like a lot of POC’s I have to be stoic and accept that that’s the way it is and not express my hurt feelings because them I’ll just be labelled as the angry brown woman.

    Anyway, I seem to have gone off on a tangent so excuse me 😄 I’m currently reading a fair bit on race relations which has put into words so much I couldn’t before.

    Yes of course I will look out for your Parts 2 and 3 and read when I can 👌

    Wishing you a great day,

    Sunra 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for sharing this. We absolutely do live in a white supremacist society and racism is cloaked in such covert ways at times that it’s really hard to call it out. As a woman of colour I’ve experienced it throughout my life and have sometimes opted to stay silent if someone has made an offensive comment (Islamophobic, pro-Trump, anti-immigration or otherwise) because I know it could negatively affect my getting on in the work place and affect my opportunities in life which are not equal to those of the white majority. It’s sad but true.

    One good thing that has transpired from the riots at the Senate however is that Trump has been banned from Twitter 🙂 So I was quite pleased about that! 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Sunra!

      In the mid-1990’s I worked for a private for-profit mental health organization. We had a company conference at a large metropolitan hotel and at the same time there was a conference for a trans organization, so there were several trans women walking through. At the time it was not well understood or accepted, so I spent some time talking to several people who had made loud negative remarks about needing to share space with trans folks. During one of our breaks, I heard someone behind me say, “You can’t even say anything about them or that guy will speak up,” to which, I said, yeah that’s right because you don’t know who is or isn’t or who has a close family member and you can hurt a lot of people with insensitive remarks. These folks’ lives are hard enough without us in the mental health world contributing to it. But, I’m a white guy who was the head of one of the local units, so I even had some small amount of organizational clout. It was still scary. I knew I was making enemies and offending people.

      We all have to live our lives as best we can, make decisions in the moment in the context we exist in, and contribute when and where we can. Part of your contribution is just existing in those white spaces. That is far more than any amount of my speaking up or blogging can contribute.

      #SilverLining: Trump’s off social media for now. We may be able to find our footing and start pushing back against those who want to start a race war.


      PS. I’ll be posting parts 2 and 3 this week. Part two should be up in the next few hours and three tomorrow. I’d love to hear what you think of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. If someone believes, at the deep unconscious level, that a class of people are supposed (ordained by God, no less) to be subservient and obedient, even property, and those people insist on claiming equality and self-determination, then they will see those people as criminal, as thieves, stealing something (themselves). Therefore, if those people then make the difference in the outcome of an election, it is being stolen.

    If, in addition, that “someone” is following a leader who believes that he is destined to win every contest in which he engages, that he cannot legitimately lose an election, then the idea of the stolen election is further reinforced.

    And, if that class of people can take this thing from you, then they can take everything, which they will do because you would if you had the chance.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Howdy Bob!

      That is an insidious type of unconscious reasoning that explains the depth of white entitlement and white privilege as well as the strength of the fantasy of the election being stolen.

      Before the advent of cell phone cameras, people just assumed that police shootings were justified no matter what witnesses said. It was only after we were able to see the shooting that white people began to be as outraged as Black people.


      Liked by 2 people

      • There is a difference between reading or listening to a description of an event and being an eye witness, even remotely. This is why the video of a police officer killing a man in cold blood with his knee, slowly, deliberately, and defying the person recording it with their camera to do anything about it was such a turning point. That sequence encapsulated the essence of White Supremacy and Privilege terrorism, and the attitude of immunity from consequences perfectly. Many of the images and statements from the Capital invasion have the same quality of presumed immunity. That may be the key illusion that must be broken.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Howdy Bob!

          Seeing that smug cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck willfully and knowingly killing him before a horrified crowd of onlookers certainly galvanized the nation and contributed to the downfall of Trump and flipping the Senate. It is another flashbulb memory that the nation shares and will continue motivating people to vote against the GOP.

          “Fortunately,” murdering innocent unarmed Black people is something that the police can be relied upon to do with amazing frequency. There is hope yet for holding the House and Senate in 2022 because the GOP and police are such consistent assholes.


          Liked by 3 people

          • Another item that can help the Dems hold or increase their majorities in 2022 is JOBS, JOBS, JOBS, and being very very clear about who makes them happen. That includes getting more small businesses through the pandemic and reopening, and raising the minimum wage, and health care, but jobs are key. Getting the vaccine process going right will help too. In politics, throwing money at things does work.

            Liked by 2 people

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